Chapter 676: Breaking Contact

It was the first month of the lunar year, so there were basically no cars on the road, and it was a smooth drive. Lin Dongxue and Chang Juan were chatting. When they talked about their hobbies, Chang Juan was very happy, and her eyes were bright as she talked.

"What do you major in?" Lin Dongxue asked.

Chang Juan, who had been very excited before, suddenly became indifferent. "Environmental science. It’s mainly researching pollution and environmental protection."

"It seems that you don't like your major very much." Chen Shi said.

"No, I like it very much. Otherwise, why would I have chosen it back then?" When she said this, Chang Juan's expression was very unnatural.

"With all due respect, how did your parents pass away?"

Chang Juan was surprised for a moment and fell silent again. In the silent car, Chen Shi seemed to hear the slight movement inside earphones. Indeed, someone was secretly "giving directions" to Chang Juan.

Chang Juan replied, "Car accident."

"Were you still in high school at the time?" Lin Dongxue asked.

"Yes." Chang Juan's eyes dimmed again. "The death of my parents hit me very hard and affected me in all aspects. My life became a financial struggle and I couldn't even complete my studies smoothly."

"Then how did you get into college?" Lin Dongxue asked.

Chang Juan looked at her blankly, was silent for a few seconds, and replied, "Why are you asking me all these questions? Can I ask you questions? You two are always together. Are you a couple?"

This way of speaking was completely different from that of Chang Juan herself. Chen Shi thought to himself that it was most likely the "mastermind behind the scenes" who was teaching her how to deal with the police.

The scenery outside the car window was getting more and more desolate. Looking around, there were only wide expanses of wilderness. The dry grass was sparsely covered with a few piles of snow. After driving for about half an hour, they arrived at Shiqiao Town. This town wasn’t very big. There were only two long intersecting streets. Some residential houses and farmland were scattered around but there were large forested areas around the periphery, and it was as though the small town was hidden deep in the middle of a large forest.

They heard that every household here owned its own piece of woodland. Most of the townspeople lived a very comfortable life. The pace of life here was slow. It was already 10:00, and there were still people on the street eating breakfast leisurely.

Chen Shi scented the fragrance of iron oven shaobings[1]. He remembered that the shaobings sold here were meat-filled, baked crisply and coated with a rich sauce. They were especially delicious.

Thus his gluttony was aroused and he asked Lin Dongxue to buy three of them: one for each person. However, Chang Juan resolutely refused to eat the shaobing, staring at it and swallowing saliva, but desperately shaking her head.

They met up with Peng Sijue and the rest at the Public Security Bureau. A bureau chief surnamed Zhang greeted them with extreme enthusiasm and prepared to lay out a banquet for everyone as a welcome reception. Peng Sijue said, "No need, let's get to know about the case first!"

The chief still insisted. Peng Sijue repeated his words. The chief could only reluctantly withdraw his offer. His politeness almost made people forget that he was the bureau chief and Peng Sijue was just a captain from the city’s bureau.

Along the way, the chief said that the people here were simple and honest. Not to mention this kind of extremely vicious case that seldom happens even once in ten years, they normally didn’t even have petty theft cases. The residents of the town all knew each other and were all related in some way. If someone was caught stealing or robbing, their whole family would not be able to raise their heads from shame. That was why their public security was particularly good. The criminal police basically did civilian police work like registering vehicles and resolving disputes.

"That’s why this case caused a commotion throughout the whole small town. We investigated for three months and didn’t find any leads. Someone butted in and said that we have the murderer’s something… Right, DNA. Wouldn’t we know who it was if we tested the whole town? He was just an armchair expert. We don’t have DNA testing equipment here at all. We have to take the samples to the hospital. It takes two days just for a blood test. It’s really inefficient." The chief complained with a sigh.

"How do you conduct autopsies? Do you have a forensic laboratory?" Peng Sijue asked.

"Don’t laugh, but our team doesn't even have a forensic pathologist. They’re all sent to the hospital in the city for the doctors to help out with the autopsies."

An assistant asked, "Is the autopsy report written by the doctor legally valid when you send a body to the hospital for an autopsy?"

Peng Sijue replied, “It has legal effect, but strictly speaking, the outsourced laboratory needs professional forensic certification.”

Chen Shi interjected, "Chief, how many people live in this town?"

The chief didn’t notice Chen Shi who had come along with them, and asked with a smile, "How may I address you?"

"My surname is Chen."

"Oh, Officer Chen."

"I’m not a policeman. I’m just a driver."

"Is this comrade kidding?" The chief smiled and looked at Peng Sijue. Peng Sijue replied, "He’s not a policeman. He’s a consultant in our team, and he is indeed a driver by profession."

When he heard that Chen Shi was just a driver, the chief ignored Chen Shi and continued to chat with Peng Sijue. Chen Shi thought to himself that the chief was really self-interested.

Peng Sijue asked to see the corpse and the autopsy records while Chen Shi wanted to go to the scene. He immediately noticed the differential treatment. The chief solicitously found a car to take Peng Sijue and his party to the hospital, but Chen Shi was ignored.

He was simply treated like air. It was impossible to say that he didn't care at all. Chen Shi said, "Old Peng, let’s go to the scene first and then look at the body later."

"This master[2], aren't you being difficult? The car is already ready. You can go to the scene anytime but the hospital staff will get off work at 5:00PM." The chief persuaded, glancing at Peng Sijue frequently with dubious eyes.

Peng Sijue said, "Then we’ll go to the scene first."

The chief was shocked. On the way to the scene, he asked the police officers in a low voice whether the "master" was a police officer pretending to be a driver, and why Captain Peng also obeyed him. The answers he got were all, "He’s a consultant.", "He’s really not a policeman.", "But he's even better than a policeman."

The chief was at a loss, but he doubted how amazing a mere consultant could possibly be.

Walking with strangers, Chang Juan seemed uneasy along the way. Lin Dongxue accompanied her to the bungalow where the crime was committed. Lin Dongxue asked, "This is your home?"

"Yes." Chang Juan replied.

After three months, the scene had already been cleaned up. The furniture had basically all been removed. Some stains and blood stains could be seen on the walls, and the screen on the window was slightly damaged. These were all traces left behind by the case. Set against the deserted atmosphere, it was inexplicably eerie.

The chief began to chatter again, and Chen Shi said, "He’s so annoying. Please get him out of here!"

Peng Sijue said, "Chief Zhang, we want to discuss the case here. Can you and your subordinates go outside and wait for a while? Sorry."

"No problem, no problem." The chief said with an apologetic smile, took his men and left. They all gathered in the yard to smoke.

Chang Juan wasn’t as nervous after the strangers left. Chen Shi said, "You can repeat your account of the case here. Where were you sleeping with your husband that day?"

Chang Juan pointed to a wall, "Our bed was there."

"Who woke up first when the murderer came in?"

"It was me. I’m a light sleeper."

"And then?"

"Then..." Chang Juan froze suddenly and remained silent for a full thirty seconds. Under the gaze of the crowd, cold sweat appeared on her forehead.

She subconsciously wanted to touch her choker, but desperately restrained herself. Chen Shi said, "What? You and Chunqin's 'ghost' had your contact disconnected?" He pointed to the wall. When he came in just then, he had blocked the signal by plugging the signal-blocking device in. Now, it was impossible to receive electronic signals throughout the whole house.

"Your communicator is the choker, right? Who’s been teaching you what to say all this time?" Chen Shi interrogated her.

1. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcRBYPObFpT2Hbv7eZFj_94VMAvUcmw-uPA-lQ&usqp=CAU 

2. Used to address drivers, skilled workers etc. 

 

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